IndyCar Season Revs Up at St. Pete Opener

Sebastien Bourdais 2017 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Photo courtesy INDYCAR Joe Skibinski)

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - RIS – Welcome to St Pete and the festival of speed along Tampa Bay. This is a full weekend starting Friday with a 7:30 am USF2000 practice, continuing through Sunday and the running of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. This is the 15th Indy car race on the streets of St. Petersburg. Action on track includes Pro Mazda, Indy Lights Pirelli World Challenge GT-GTA-GT Cup, GTS and or course Verizon IndyCar series.

Some things to watch for prior to Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg include the sleek new Chevrolet and Honda IndyCar body kits and four new teams fielding 8 drivers:

Carlin: Max Chilton, Charlie Kimball

Harding Racing: Gabby Chavez

Juncos Racing: Kyle Kaiser and Rene Binder

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports “and” Michael Shank Racing: James Hinchcliffe, Jack Harvey and Robert Wickens

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be broadcast on ABC Sunday at 12:30 pm eastern. Weekend practice and qualifying will be streamed on New on-car camera positions will give TV viewers better access to the racing action. According to IndyCar: “ABC and NBCSN will utilize never-before-seen views of the intense racing that the Verizon IndyCar Series offers with cameras strategically placed on the universal bodywork kit that is new for all cars in 2018. In addition to the traditional in-car position above and behind the driver’s head, cameras will be mounted to the nose, sidepod and rear attenuator. There also will be expanded use of the popular visor cam mounted on the driver’s helmet and pioneered by INDYCAR.”

Also take a look at the U.S. on-track introduction of the wicked looking Chevrolet Corvette C7 GT3-R, tuned by Callaway Competition USA and racing in the Pirelli World Challenge event. The vehicle was unveiled at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show held in Indianapolis in December 2017.

Stay tuned to RIS for concise weekend reporting.

Dave Chess

Dave Chess has been writing for RIS since the late 1980s during the CompuServe days. His work has also appeared in Auto Week magazine, Chicago Gearhead News newspaper, ATA airlines in-flight magazine, National Speed Sport News and on many websites.

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Volume 2018, Issue 3, Posted 7:39 AM, 03.08.2018